One of the many nice things about always having babies in tow is that people are usually overjoyed to see them. People stop and look and compliment us on our beautiful babies and generally seem pretty pleased to have a glimpse into our child-friendly world.
Recently we had a very busy week here at our house. All five of the older children had dental check-ups scheduled in one long marathon appointment. I had an appointment with the doctor and the twins had their monthly check-up as well. All of this in addition to the general craziness of soccer practices, dance classes, karate, music lessons, various meetings and a play rehearsal. So I was a bit frazzled by the whole week.
The week began by us going to LifeTeen Mass at our parish. A six o'clock evening Mass is not an ideal time for our family, but the soccer and fall baseball schedules did not allow for evening Mass yesterday or morning Mass this morning without us splitting up. My husband likes us to go to Mass as a family whenever possible so, that evening at six o'clock, there we were at the LifeTeen Mass. We were wonderfully surprised when, before Mass began, the leader of the LifeTeen band in our parish, realizing it was the twins' first LifeTeen Mass, had the entire congregation welcome Bridget and Sean to the Mass and gave them a round of applause.
How wonderful. This Mass, which was crowded with teens and their parents, all let out a collective AAAAWWWW as David and I held up the twins. It was so endearing and it had me reflecting about how welcomed with joy we usually are when we travel with babies in tow.
When we entered the dental office the next day, the staff was working quietly behind the glass window. The first hygienist who came out to collect my oldest for his appointment must have told all of those ladies about the adorable twins because, one by one, they came out to admire them and ask a bunch of questions. When all of the women had peeked at the babies, the mood behind the glass was lighter and there was some pleasant chit-chat now accompanying the busy pace of work. My sleeping sweethearts had cheered the whole place up.
When I went for my doctor visit, I was sternly reprimanded for not bringing the babies. "We've been waiting all day," they cried. I had no idea and was so sorry to disappoint them.
In the pediatrician's office we took up the entire waiting room. Lots of people had to rearrange and move their stuff to accommodate us, but all did so pleasantly. "It's for the twins," they said.
Anything for the babies.
Having babies in the house is hectic I won't deny that, but in a weird way it also greatly slows the pace. You need to sit and feed them, you need to sit and rock them, you need to snuggle and cuddle them at every opportunity. You don't go out in foul weather. "Could you bring Ryan home from choir?" I recently called a friend on her cell phone. "It's raining and I don't want to bring the twins out". Dear friend that she is, she was very happy to help out.
Anything for the babies.
It's so fleeting, this time with them. It is so short a time that they are babies. There is so little time for them to be held, cuddled and firmly attached to me. So little time for them to be ooohed and aaaahed over and loved by strangers. Since this time is passing so swiftly, I will be bringing them with me everywhere. I will show them off and let them work their magic on the world around them. I will let Bridget and Sean beautify the world with their presence and try diligently to be an example of God's love everywhere I go. I won't be cranky about taking seven children with me and I will exude joy. This is the gift I want to give them. I want to delight in every moment of their lives. I want to focus, not on the hassle of hauling two car seats and a double stroller everywhere, but on the happiness that the stroller brings with it. This will be my gift to Bridget and Sean, to do justice to God's precious gifts to me.
Anything for those babies.